You Can’t Afford Not to Update Your Antivirus. Here’s Why
We All Hate Those Popups
Yeah, we all hate to be interrupted. Whether you’re in the middle of a movie, lost in a 10 hour gaming marathon or racing for a last minute deadline, there’s nothing more annoying than being distracted by a persistent popup.
Much like the overused snooze button on your alarm, it’s easy to keep clicking “remind me later” again and again, putting off the update for hours, days, weeks… or forever.
After all, how important can it really be?
Antivirus Updates are Very Important
So here’s the thing: your antivirus software isn’t pushing those popups because they feel like it. They’re getting you to update your system because you need to.
Okay, so your PC probably isn’t doomed because you left an antivirus software update for a few hours longer than you should have done, but the fact is, you will need to install it eventually.
Sadly, the work of the IT security pro is never done, and when you first bought your antivirus or internet security suite, that was just the beginning of the road. New threats and types of malware spring up all the time – and you need to be ready for them.
Your standard antivirus software (mostly) works by monitoring all of the files and programs your PC is trying to download and cross-referencing these with a database of known threats. This list is growing continually, and that means the database has to be updated on a regular basis to stay current.
A good security provider will be scouring the internet round the clock, looking for the latest malware, spyware and other dangers that could pose a danger to your PC.
Think of it like a “Most Wanted” list. If you’re ignoring those updates, what you’re really doing is holding on to a bunch of names that are a decade out of date. The most dangerous bad guys right now aren’t on the list, and if they come storming in through your door, you won’t have a clue - until, of course, it’s too late.
Don’t waste time working off an out-of-date list. Make sure your antivirus knows what it’s up against, so that it knows how to keep you safe.
Zero Day Threats
Oh – and it’s not just known malware and spyware you need to be on your guard against. There’s also a little something called a zero day threats. And yes, it’s just as nasty as it sounds.
Zero day threats, also known as zero day exploits, are so-called because they take software developers by surprise, giving them “zero days” to figure out an effective strategy to fight back.
What happens is that a hacker will figure out where there’s a vulnerability in the design of a system, software or website that its creators didn’t spot during development. They then launch a piece of malware that specifically targets this glitch in the system. By the time the developers catch on to what’s happening, the problem has already taken hold.
These kind of threats spell disaster – and that means companies are constantly on the lookout for potential weaknesses.
Developers are reviewing and testing code all the time to figure out where cyber criminals might try to hit them. If and when they spot a problem, they need to create and release a fix as fast as they can – usually in the form of a security update.
Or, if a breach does take place, they’ll need to work fast to find a way to contain, control or counteract the problem.
In these situations, ignoring updates means leaving your PC wide open. You could end up being infected with a virus that was totally preventable.
You could end up having to pay out huge sums of cash for repairs, or to replace devices altogether. And, if the hack was realistically your fault for ignoring recommended updates, you might find that your tech support can’t help you, or even that your insurance won’t pay out. Is that really worth the risk?
The Times, They are A-Changing
Why did you choose your internet security suite in the first place?
Was it because it came highly recommended for its performance in independent malware detection tests? Was it the range of tools and features on offer beyond the core antivirus and anti-spyware offering?
Perhaps you liked that it came with a powerful two-way firewall. Perhaps there were top parental controls. Perhaps you were drawn to the excellent social media or privacy protection for online shopping and banking. Perhaps there was an excellent password protection feature, or malicious malware scanning to put your mind at rest.
You know that all these tools will have a time limit, right?
As in, today’s state-of-the-art solution might not be perfect tomorrow. Antivirus companies are constantly working to stay ahead of the game by honing the features on offer. There’s every chance that the most important features for keeping you safe in the coming years haven’t been invented yet.
That means you have to let these guys do what they do best: researching, developing and handing you the top tools for online security, all the time. And while they’re doing all the hard work, all you have to do is remember to install the updates they send over when they’ve cooked up something new.
After all, you took the time to make sure you chose the best of the best antivirus programs in the first place. Wouldn’t you rather keep it that way?
Why Turn Down Free Stuff?
There are a million good arguments for keeping on top of your antivirus updates, but ultimately it boils down to this: why turn down free stuff?
No one’s going to charge you for installing those updates they keep sending your way. And on the flipside, if you ignore them, it could cost you a fortune to fix.
It might feel like a pain in the neck to stop what you’re doing and wait for an update to install, but it’s likely to be a good investment of time, too.
Put it off and you could find yourself saddled with a virus that’s a nightmare to remove. Once these infect your PC, they’ll soon start damaging files, slowing your device’s performance and generally causing your computer to grind to a halt.
Is all that really worth the risk for the sake of a few minutes’ inconvenience today? We think you know the answer to that already. Keeping your antivirus software up to date will ensure your PC runs smooth and you never let anything slip through the cracks.
If you want to learn more about the best antivirus software, read our expert reviews here.